Monday, April 8, 2013
Theodore Herzel was moved by the Dryfus Affair. He wanted to solve the Jewish Problem and end anti-Semitism by creating a Jewish State.
Herzel believed that if the Jews had their own political state they would be viewed as a Nnrmal people and anti-Semitism would disappear. The exact opposite happened.
Anti-Zionism became the new form of rabid hatred of Jews. Anti-Israel became the new anti-Semitism.
Herzel could not have been more wrong.
Monday, July 9, 2012
A lot of people want G-d to half-exist.
The G-d that is fun, makes no demands on their lives, the G-d that provides solace that there is life after death. The G-d that means that life has meaning and purpose- but i can still do as I please...
This is the G-d people want to believe in.
The G-d that says you have to keep Kosher, keep Shabbat, fast on Tisha B'Av and be different from that really cool American goyish culture out there...
that's the G-d people don't want.
So the result is that people want a CONVIENT half G-d.
Since the G-d of Judaism is really BOTH of these G-ds the one we want and the one we don't- we conveniently want to “half- believe” in G-d, so we can basically keep the fun stuff- like lighting Chanakah candles, the solace of believing in life after death, and the vague spirituality without having to be responsible for what we eat, keeping Shabbat or do any of the really "hard" part.
Do we really want to find answers? No. In general non-Orthodox Jews like to turn Judaism upside down and instead of G-d creating Man and Woman in His image we like to create this HALF G-d in our image!!
It works if your name is Judy, than you can have a real "Judyism"; but if your name isn't Judy you are just making up your own religion of convenience! (Also if you are intermarried like the author of this article is Julie Weiner, than you really don't want to become too religious as you don't want your spouse or kids to become alienated. I wrote this as a talkback to http://www.thejewishweek.com/blogs/julie-wieners-mix/my-god-problem )
The Judaism that laid the foundations for all that is good and moral in Western Civilization, (for how Judaism has done that see this link:
the Judaism that our fellow Jews were willing to die for over the centuries, that Judaism was never a half Judaism with a half-G-d. Nor is any form of half-Judaism surviving over time in America.
Friday, March 20, 2009
Disclaimer: This "blog" is really a "post" as I have posted just five articles. I only write about topics I think are generally misunderstood and I have a strong opinion about.
The first essay- Now is time to accept the sixth branch of Judaism- Jews for Jesus!...
demonstrates in an out of the box way how Orthodox Judaism is not intolerant for not accepting Reform and Conservative Judaism as legitimate forms of Judaism.
The second article- The Right was Right but the Left Won (RE: Arab-Israeli Conflict)...
puts the current Arab-Israeli conflict into focus from the perspective of the debate that was raging when I was growing up in 1970s and '80s.
The third article- Orthodoxy discriminates against women? – HOW UPSIDE DOWN CAN YOU BE?!
explains that not only Orthodoxy does not discriminate against women, but women who are part of Orthodox community are far less discriminated against than their secular Jewish counterparts.
The fourth article The Problem with Secular Zionism or Why there are 1.25 Million Yordim...
explains an inherent weakness in Secular/Political Zionism in Israel today and proposes an explanation for the large number of Yordim (Israelis living outside of Israel).
The fifth article How to Win the Campus Activism War - Go on the Offensive!
is in my opinion the best strategy for pro-Israel activism on college campuses- if implemented this strategy would turn the current situation where Israel is the big loser on campus to Israel being the winner in the debate.
Enjoy! And let me know what you think by posting a response.
Thanks & Kol tuv,
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
My friend Mark grew up with me and shared my Conservative background. Now he is a Jew for Jesus and belongs to a Messianic synagogue. He wants to start a movement to have Messianic Judaism become recognized as an official sixth branch of Judaism. The first five are of course, Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, Reconstructionist and Humanist*.
Mark argues his is the fastest growing form of Judaism, thanks to inter-marriage and strength in numbers of children of the inter-married there are over 1,300 active Messianic Synagogues in the U.S.
He argues that through Jesus he feels fulfilled as a Jew. He says that as a Messianic Jew he observes the Shabat much more now than he ever did as a Conservative Jew. Why should we discriminate against him? Is he not a Jew? Don't we believe that each person has a right to express their Judaism as they see fit? He is doing so and he is following his "Rabbi".
On what grounds can you or I rebuff his desire to create an official sixth branch?
Think about it, as a liberal Jew for many years I have always heard it said that the Orthodox are intolerant for not accepting Reform and Conservative Judaism as legitimate forms of Judaism.
But once I start thinking of making standards to Judaism and saying certain beliefs fall outside of Judaism- am I really any different than the Orthodox who rejected Reform or other groups based on their standards? Am I now also intolerant?
Just like I wouldn't accept that Jew for Jesus is a true expression of authentic Judaism how can I fairly expect Orthodox Jews who have been practicing their beliefs for thousands of years to suddenly accept all the new "rules of the game" that my community is playing Judaism by. For example in my community we drive to the Temple on the Sabbath and High Holidays (which of course is making a fire on Shabbat by burning gas), accept Gays and Lesbians as legitimate lifestyles and our women are called up to the Torah to have an Aliyah. Perhaps we shouldn't label the Orthodox as "intolerant" just because they have a more restrictive definition of what Judaism is than we do.
The Conservative movement has standards as well. Conservative ideology holds that the Halacha (Jewish law) is binding in Judaism. Reform does not see Halacha as binding. Would a Conservative Jew be called intolerant if he said that Reform Judaism isn't Judaism because a true practice of Judaism must include the concept of Halacha as binding?
In fact, since Reform ideology clearly falls outside of what the Conservative movement's standards of what Judaism is would it not be more honest for the Conservative movement to state so openly?
One can readily understand that it is very insulting to Reform and Conservative Jews to hear from an Orthodox Jew who is most representative of the Judaism handed down through the ages- the type of Judaism that Jews died for- that their ideologies fall outside of Orthodox standards of what Judaism is. One can understand that they would be insulted and would prefer to believe that the reason they are not accepted is just because of INTOLERANCE of Orthodox Jews. That is an easier pill to swallow than to think that, what a minute, perhaps Judaism isn't a free for all.
It is a mistake to label Orthodox Jews as "intolerant" for not accepting Reform or Conservative Judaism if the reason they do not accept these movements is that the ideologies of Reform and Conservative fall outside of what their definition of Judaism is. In fact it is more honest for the Orthodox to admit that they do not accept these movements as a legitimate form of Judaism if they don't. It’s not that they are intolerant it is just that they have standards. Just like you do.
One thing I think we can all agree on is that it is an insult to Judaism to label it "a belief system where anyone can believe anything they want to as long as they don't believe in Jesus".
If you don't accept Messianic Judaism (Jews for Jesus) as a sixth branch of Judaism- ask yourself why not? And if you have standards- why are your standards (which doesn't accept Messianic Judaism) more correct than the Orthodox standard which traces itself back thousands of years to Sinai and doesn't accept Reform or Conservative?
*Humanist Judaism, the most recent invention of the Something - hyphen- Judaism, demonstrates you don't even need to believe in G-d to be called a form of "Judaism" see www.shj.org/believe.htm This "form of Judaism" has nothing in common with the belief system found in the Torah. If you want you can also start a new version of Judaism- just make a list of things you believe- better to make it things which are popular so you can have more adherents- and call it something such as Liberal-Judaism. But don't start a new stream of Judaism if you think there is something wrong with each person making up a new branch of Judaism based on their own ideas. One obvious problem which would arise is that we would end up with as many "Judaisms" as there are Jews! (See Numbers 15:16)
The Left wing which supported the Gaza disengagement said it would bring more peace to the region. The Right wing argued that we will end up with a radicalized Gaza that will launch missiles and attacks from Gaza once we leave which is exactly what happened.
It is important that one understand Islam on its own terms. Islam does not allow for compromises that would leave non-believers in Allah and Muhammad in control of any land that was formerly a part of dar al-Islam- no matter how small. Go to www.jihadwatch.org/Islam101/ This is why Palestinian leaders such as Arafat and others are praised by their own people for showing no compromise in accepting any sized Jewish State in the region- simply put Islamic law does not allow for it. Is there a solution? In the military elite training school at West Point I heard one instructor was quoted as saying that with the Arabs either you keep your foot on their throat or they will put their foot on yours. Using strong counter force to put down Arab attacks on Jews would in the long run save Jewish and Arab lives. Israel should for example set up an automatic missile launchers (not manned by any person) but set up with radar that detects any incoming Kassam or missile of any type and that would automatically send 20 or 30 missiles back to population centers in Gaza. Israel would warn Hamas and whoever else is sending missiles "don't shoot at yourselves". If any missiles are sent to Israel many more will automatically fly back to your population centers automatically- without us pushing one button. While in the short run some Arabs will be killed in the long run more Jewish and Arab lives will be saved as the missiles from Gaza would stop. One wonders why this solution isn't being done now. This might not be popular, and unfortunately it wont be done, but such policies is the only way. Unfortunately Israel is heading towards exposing itself to the point that it will look like it is conquerable which will only lead the Arabs to try to conquer her (i.e. after we leave the West Bank and the Golan). The result will be a large catastrophic war where many Jews are killed and then many Arabs are killed back. For Oslo – Israel was told to give up land for peace- Remember they told Israel to "take risks for peace". The Arab desire for Jewish blood was so great they could not even wait to get the land they were promised and started an intifada where over 2,000 Jews have been murdered- men women and children in all kinds of attacks – including many bus bombings. What were they protesting – the beginning of Oslo which promised them a State? What are they protesting in Gaza by sending Kasams to kill innocent Israelis- that we left Gaza for the Palestinians to have self rule? We took risks for peace and we got over 2,000 innocent Israelis dead- is that not enough?
Common law does not allow a person to to shout "Fire! fire!" in a crowded movie theater, as human life is considered a more sacred and fundamental value than freedom of speech.
Similarly, even if one argues that the Arabs have a right to the West Bank as they are in the majority– the fact that the Arabs cannot accept a Jewish State and will try to destroy her negates her claim to the West Bank. If your neighbor owned his house but couldn’t stand to see you living next door that he kept shooting at anyone going through your front or back doors and through your windows wouldn't that negate his right to continue to live in his house even if he owned the house? Get it?
Apparently General Ya'alon gets it: (May 26 '09)
Ya’alon: Palestinians want State on Israel’s Ruins May/26/09 (IsraelNN.com) The Minister for Strategic Affairs, General Moshe Ya’alon, said Tuesday that “from the analysis of previous agreements between Israel and the Palestinians, we see that they are not seeking the 1967 borders but a Palestinian state on the ruins of the State of Israel.”Foreign Minister: Hamas is Waiting in the Wings by Hillel Fendel http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/142882 Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman says: Hamas is currently strong enough to wrest control over Judea and Samaria from Fatah – but is waiting until Fatah receives as much as it can, in terms of area (square kilometers), recognition, and aid, from the international community. Lieberman briefed the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee today on Israel’s diplomatic situation around the world. Regarding the Fatah-Hamas rivalry, he said: “Foreign Ministry assessments are that Hamas is stronger than Fatah not only in Gaza, but also in Judea and Samaria [Yesha]. However, Hamas is being smart and does not want to capture Yesha right now - because it is waiting for the ‘day after,’ when Abu Mazen [PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas] and [PA prime minister Salam] Fayyad get the maximum they can from the international community – and then Hamas will take over.” Hamas took control of Gaza from Fatah in 2007, following a short but bloody war in which 170 Arabs were killed. Both groups killed opponents by throwing them from building tops. Since then, sporadic clashes have erupted between the groups as well, though these are also dotted by periodic reports of attempts to make peace. Lieberman explained why the the Palestinian Authority does not want to negotiate with Israel: “They figure they can get more in the international arena than they can by talking with Israel.” Eldad: Annex Jewish Areas Now! MK Aryeh Eldad (National Union) responded afterwards: “I agree that if Israel leaves Judea and Samaria, the dominant force will be Hamas. Only those who are either blind or ostriches continue to try to convince themselves that the ‘moderates’ will rule whatever entity the Palestinians receive. We must head off a unilateral PA declaration of statehood by quickly annexing all the areas in which Jews live in Judea and Samaria
Please help publicize the following logical point which doesn't even deny the right of a Palestinian State sometime in the future…Just advocates why the creation of such a State should for now be put on hold…
The Left- which through Oslo, created the expectation of a Palestinian State on the West Bank- has been proved to be wrong for Israel.
It is clear that the goal of such a state would be to work with other states such as Iran, Syria and the likes of Hezbollah and Hamas to destroy the Jewish State.
There are two values which must be weighed against each other- the value of a people's right for "Self-determination since they are a majority in the host society" versus the value of the very life of the host society.
This is like weighing the right of free speech against the right to scream fire in a crowded movie theater.
Just like the value of free speech is suspended when there is a potential for loss of life so too should the Palestinian State be put on hold until we are dealing with a people who are not bent on our destruction.
Why settle for a bad imitation when you can have the real thing!
Political or Secular Zionism stated that the goal of the Jewish State is to become a state like any other Western secular state. Nowadays the message being projected from this camp is that Israel should become a miniature America comprised of Jews.
The message Israeli kids hear over and over again growing up in Israel is that America is such a wonderful country and Israel should strive as much as possible to be like America. American music, T.V., movies, sports, etc. is idealized in Israeli culture. Israelis are simply fascinated and in love with just about everything American.
So why are Israelis so surprised when their children decide to live in America when they settle down?
(Personal experience regarding this topic: My first Israel peer trip was when I was 16 and the program included a component called "mifgash" where we were matched with other 16 year old Israelis. I made a close friend named Chanan who knew all the U.S. rock songs. I was a Conservative kid getting more into Israel and Judaism growing up. Chanan moved to the U.S. after finishing his army service and has been living in Ohio ever since for the past 25 years living his dream. And I am observant now, part of an Orthodox community living in Jerusalem. When I made Aliyah during my 20s Israeli peers looked at me in amazement. "Why would I give up America for Israel?" they would ask. On their walls in their homes were pictures of their heroes, Michael Jordan, Bob Dylan and a picture of the cast from the movie "Hair".)
The Israelis leaving Israel are just acting out what they were raised to think from the Israeli media:
Why settle for Israel (which is a bad imitation of American society) when I can have the real thing by living in America?
Secular Zionism today as a movement doesn't motivate young people today to endure the many sacrifices living in Israel requires. America has a lot more opportunities to make money, less taxes, no universal army conscription, virtually no terrorism or threat of annihilation and A LOT less daily stress. This is why there are an estimated 1.25 million Israelis (that's one out of every five Israelis) living outside of Israel today.
Many Israeli secular parents get a lot of naches (pride) from seeing their children do well in the U.S. and from hearing their American grandchildren speak English like Americans. They would probably be more proud to have secular children living in NY or the Valley (CA) than if their child became a religious-Zionists and settled some hill top in Samaria.
It seems it is a matter of time before the religious will become the majority here. The religious and their children are much more likely to stay in Israel. They also get marry at earlier ages, have more children and less divorce. Some religious Jews cynically suggested that what motivated the secular Israeli government to bring in so many Russians- even Christians- was just to ensure a secular majority in Israel. Any price to keep secular Zionism in the majority- even the price of bringing in close to a half million non-Jews.
When there was no State of Israel young Zionists were filled with idealistic motivation to create that Jewish secular State. Now the State is created and the job is finished.
The goal of Religious-Zionism though is not finished. Moreover religious-Zionism is much more ideologically motivated and tied to the Holy Land itself. Herzl could take into consideration the possibility of the creation of a Secular Jewish State in Uganda (which was proposed during his lifetime) but for a religious-Zionist Jew there is no alternative to the Land of Israel. Moreover, the goal of creating a Torah State, in all the Land of Israel with a re-built Bet HaMikdash (Holy Temple) which would be a light unto the nations is still something not achieved yet and is still being strived for by the religious-Zionists.
PS look at this cutie:
12% increase in number of Israelis seeking to relinquish citizenship in 2007
01.02.08, 16:53 / Israel News
A total of 867 Israelis asked to relinquish their citizenship in 2007 – a 12% increase compared to 2006. This according to census data presented by the Interior Ministry.
Most of those giving up their citizenship status did so because they were seeking to become citizens of a foreign country or did not wish to deal with renewing their Israeli passports. (Tani Golstein)
And this article from Haaretz.com:
Last update - 06:24 03/06/2009
Secular Jews may be minority in Israeli schools by 2030
By Ofri Ilani
Secular Jews are expected to become a minority in Israeli schools and among the draft-age population within 20 years, according to a recent study published in the current issue of U.S. magazine Foreign Policy. The study, which is based on figures from Israel's Central Bureau of Statistics, predicts that by 2030 Arabs and ultra-Orthodox (Haredi) Jews together will compose close to 60 percent of Israel's elementary school population and about 40 percent of eligible voters. "The Changing Face of Israel" was written by Richard Cincotta, a consulting demographer to the U.S. government's National Intelligence Council, and Eric Kaufmann of the University of London. They use demographic analysis to explain the trends evidenced in the last Israeli election, including the growing strength of the far-right Yisrael Beiteinu party, and attribute its success to secular Israelis' fears about the continuing erosion of the country's Zionist majority.
"As the secular proportion of Jewish voters recedes, Yisrael Beytenu's fortunes are bound to improve," write Cincotta and Kaufmann. "And that secular proportion will indeed recede, unless, of course, the rules of the game change." The article demonstrates that the proportion of secular students has shrunk significantly in the past several decades. "The numbers are impressive," the article states. "In 1960, the [Central Bureau of Statistics] reported that just 15 percent of students in the Israeli primary-school system were either Israeli Arabs or haredim. Now, about 46 percent are. Around 2020, the majority of primary-school students will likely be composed of children from those two groups, each segregated into its own segment of the school system." The authors note that the average number of births for each ultra-Orthodox woman is seven, and the average number for Arab Muslim women is 3.9. A U.S. intelligence assessment released about six months ago predicted that demographic trends could have a significant effect on the composition of the current Knesset.